Carolyn Ralph, BA, BSW, MSW(c), RSW


Social worker/Psychotherapist

If you are here, we may share a strong pull for something different. I need to be outside more often. I know this. We all spend so much time inside. Meeting in an office has its benefits (especially when the weather is harsh) but being in the forest or the gardens is a profoundly healing experience. The birdsong stimulates the vagus nerve, activating a parasympathetic response, creating a felt sense of safety in the body, the feeling of air on the skin, and the scent of the earth, trees, and flowers bringing us home to our true inner nature. The visual array of colors and shapes calms the nervous system and elicits such joyfulness at the same time.  There is so much research that attests to the healing qualities of being in nature. It just makes sense to include walking in nature to support your mental health and emotional wellness. If this sounds like truth to you, if you can see yourself here, if you feel curious about exploring therapy in nature, let’s connect.

My Story

Working and volunteering in community and human services for almost 20 years, I am a registered social worker/psychotherapist, licensed to practice with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. I am primarily interested in psycho-spiritual, nature-based, humanist, and relational psychotherapy; mindfulness; sound therapy, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
My desire to work in mental health has been an organic progression that started from developing an awareness of the healing potential in my own experiences as a survivor of trauma and chronic disease and being committed to a path of personal integration and reconnection. On that path, I became fascinated with how our current understanding of quantum theories connects to ancient spiritual beliefs and practices. I am driven by my curiosity about who we are and why we are here. I like to say that “I am here because you are here”. The search for the connection between science and spirituality continues to meet my need to find meaning in our experiences of being here, together.
With that in mind, my attraction to human services and mental health is the result of a desire to support others on this journey and to seed the social landscape with the most powerful tool for healing and evolution that we have – LOVE.

Carolyn Ralph, Counsellor, psychotherapist

Nature-Based Therapy

Breathing in Trees Counselling was born of a connection to trees that started when I was in grade 4. While sitting in a tree grove during a school trip, I experienced a deep state of connection that was transformational. Since that time, I worked summers as a tree planter and was co-founder of an organization called We Learn Naturally ( which created nature-based programs for children, adults, and families. In my practice as a psychotherapist, I use trees and nature for grounding, to release excess energy and balance my system. In fact, you can often find me in the forest playing my pennywhistle for the trees (it’s also a great tool for exercising the diaphragmatic muscle and regulating the flight/ fight response by encouraging focused breathing!)

The Outdoor Therapy Model

Using the beautiful resources offered by The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington, we will always meet either at Cherry Hill trailhead or Hendrie Gardens (The Rose Garden). Both are located on Plains Road right across from the main RBG building. You can choose your preferred experience and comfort level – whether it is a hike on the Cherry Hill trail or a walk in the Rose Garden. There are many benches along the trail and throughout the garden to rest and talk.
Parking and entry into the gardens will be covered in the cost of the therapy session.
If there is inclement weather on the day of your session, you can choose to meet inside the RBG, in the warm and fragrant Mediterranean gardens, virtually, or we can re-schedule for another day.

counselling, psychotherapy sessions at the RBG gardens in Hamilton, Burlington
Breathing in Trees Counselling, Psychotherapist, Hamilton, Burlington

Change Your Life Today